NORFOLK, VA - Syracuse’s Nikita Kucherov's goal with 2:02 remaining in regulation lifted the Syracuse Crunch to a 2-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals Friday night at the Norfolk Scope.
The first period started with some fireworks as John Kurtz and former Admirals captain Mike Angelidis dropping the gloves just 21 seconds into tonight’s action. Kurtz got the better of Syracuse’s Danick Gauthier in a fight last season, spurring tonight’s scuffle with Angelidis.
Following the fight, Syracuse jumped on top of the Admirals only two minutes and 21 seconds in when ex-Admiral Jean-Phillipe Cote flipped a shot from the point that clipped past Norfolk goaltender John Gibson for a 1-0 lead.
Norfolk netted the equalizer at 14:59 of the opening frame after a clean faceoff win in the offensive zone by Dave Steckel. Steckel steered the facoff win back to Steven Whitney, who wristed a shot from the right wing circle past Syracuse goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis.
After a scoreless second period, teams traded possession in each other’s zone with end-to-end action spanning the ice during the third. The Admirals continued their penalty kill prowess, disposing of all five penalties called against them in the game.
The third period resembled the second until the 17:58 mark when the AHL’s leading goal scorer, Nikita Kucherov added to his total to give Syracuse a late 2-1 lead. His linemate Vladimir Namestnikov’s shot from the blue line tipped off Kucherov’s glove past Gibson for the go-ahead marker.
A frantic last two minutes saw the Admirals knocking on the door to no avail. Gudlevskis cancelled out several Norfolk scoring chances to secure the road victory for the Crunch.
Norfolk lost the shots battle 26-24 on home ice. John Gibson made 24 saves in the loss, while Gudlevskis made 23 saves en route to his fourth victory of his rookie season.
The Admirals will attempt to avenge tonight’s loss at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night when the Crunch return to the Norfolk Scope.
With the regulation win, Syracuse moves in front of Norfolk into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Both East Division squads have 17 points on the season as the Admirals now sit one spot behind the Crunch in fifth.
Game tickets are on sale for tomorrow night’s matchup and are available through the Norfolk Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, or call (757) 640-1212 Office hours are Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fans can also visit us online at www.norfolkadmirals.com
GAME NOTES: A few transactions took place prior to Friday's game. The Anaheim Ducks reassigned goaltender Igor Bobkov and defenseman Stefan Warg to the Utah Grizzles of the ECHL...In addition Norfolk signed goaltender Ben Meisner to a PTO contract. Meisner appeared in two games this season with Utah. He posted an 11-15-6 mark, and a 2.98 goals against average last season at American International University... Also prior to the game, the Admirals announced that Garnet Exelby was named the team's captain for the 2013-14 season...Syracuse's Vladislav Namestnikov extended his point scoring streak to 11 games, while Nikita Kucherov extends his to nine games.